The Taste of Turkana is a small group of artisans located in Lodwar, Kenya. Lodwar is the capital of Turkana County. Their baskets are made with the help of the Diocese of Lodwar Catholic Mission for Turkana. The mission's outreach program supports clean drinking water, medical services, human rights advocacy, and education.
Roughly 70% of the Turkana tribe are nomads. Livestock is their livelihood. However, erratic rainfall is an unreliable source of water for grazing. Famine is a constant threat. About half of the population lives on one meal a day.
Economic circumstances are exasperated by hazardous travel conditions. Travel by air is possible, but expensive and limited. Transport of people and goods on the dilapidated roads is not recommended in and out of urban communities without police protection. Cattle rustling and banditry are widespread. Elementary-age herders carry AK-47s, made available by the Sudan conflict, to protect livestock.
The Catholic mission is teaching women to weave baskets, so they can support themselves and their families. These women live in huts made of sticks, straw, and found materials. The same straw used to weave baskets. Their huts are well adapted to the hot, dry climate of the impoverished district. Still, they survive on hope in a world where tribal culture no longer has the capacity to sustain life.